The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

October 21, 2012

HERTZEL COLUMN: Promising season gone in a flash

MORGANTOWN — After the goings-on at Milan Puskar Stadium on Saturday night, it is safe to assume that West Virginia University would pay $20 million to get back into the Big East.

That’s how embarrassing this season has become.

Born of great hope with dreams of Big 12 championship and, if things broke their way, a national championship, the season now is little more than a pile of ashes, the deterioration of both the offense and the defense so complete that by the middle of the third quarter the student section was more than half full.

Or is that half empty?

And you know what? No one could blame them.

There really was nothing left for them by then. The score was 45-7, Collin Klein had outplayed Geno Smith so badly that rather than talking about Heisman Trophy for the Mountaineer quarterback it was obvious he wasn’t going to be even the All-Big 12 first team QB.

Why even Smith’s consecutive pass streak was broken — twice.

Smith’s final pass of the first half gave him 327 consecutive passes without an interception — 273 this season to break Trent Dilfer’s NCAA single-season record by one.

His first pass of the second half was tipped high into the air and intercepted by K-State’s warrior of a linebacker Arthur Brown.

His next streak wasn’t quite that long, Kansas State’s Ty Zimmerman picking off yet another pass after his new streak lasted just five passes.

“He was pressing. We all were,” Coach Dana Holgorsen said of Smith. “We talked about it all week. ‘Don’t get impatient. Don’t get impatient.’ You have the ball a couple of times and you look up there and you’re down 17 points. You start pressing. It’s inevitable.”

But you can’t put this one on Geno Smith’s back because it was obvious right from the start that Kansas State was a vastly superior team, so much so that the Mountaineers are probably thankful that they have woeful Kansas scheduled for their final game, because they may need it for their sixth victory to become bowl eligible.

The defense again was shown to be completely inept … which might be complimentary to it.

We could cite you the yardage and touchdown numbers, and to read them is like reading Jules Verne’s science fiction, but there are other ways to illustrate just how incredibly horrible they have been.

One way to look at it is to say this defense has given up 29 touchdowns and two field goals in four Big 12 games. They have made four stops.

Or, to put it another way, they have forced their opponents to punt the ball once in the last 30 possessions entering the fourth quarter when the issue was settled

Of course, for the traditionalists out there — that would be those calling for Don Nehlen’s return about now — they have given up 595 rushing yards and 1,691 yards in four Big 12 games.

That’s more than 400 passing yards per game.

“I don’t want to blame it on the kids. Blame it on me. I can take it,” said beleaguered defensive coordinator Joe DeForest. “I’m OK with that. I’ll tell one thing, we’re gonna work through this. We’re going to fix it. I’m embarrassed about what happened tonight. I’m embarrassed, but it’s my job to make it right. I will make it right.”

DeForest said they had a simple plan, and that they tried everything they could to get it right, but it didn’t happen, couldn’t happen with as many freshmen as he had on the field, eight in all at times.

“It was a simple game plan, but the bottom line is you have to tackle the quarterback and we didn’t do that at times,” he said.

Make that nearly every time.

The result was another embarrassment to add to a season of embarrassing defensive performances, but even with a bye week changes are not forthcoming.

“What do you want me to change?” Holgorsen said. “We played somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 players on defense. They are what we got. We’re going to focus hard on them, especially with all the young guys we have. Those guys will get better and we’ll keep coaching them hard.”

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com. Follow on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Summer, Alabama will be used to get WVU’s mind right

    The ink had barely dried on the final reports out of West Virginia’s spring practice when thoughts turned forward toward the lazy, hazy days of late summer, days that will bring us into football season with a game that can either change the entire image of WVU football or sour it even further.

    April 21, 2014

  • Arrest warrant out for WVU recruit

    West Virginia University’s newest men’s basketball recruit, Tarik Phillip, has an order out for his arrest in North Carolina, according to a story in The Dominion-Post, which said three Gaston County Magistrate office spokespersons confirmed.

    April 20, 2014

  • WVU baseball powers past Oklahoma, 9-5

    The WVU baseball team tied a season high with 18 hits to defeat Oklahoma, 9-5, on Saturday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The win gives the Mountaineers their second Big 12 series win of the season and improves the overall record to 19-16 and 4-7 in conference play. Oklahoma drops to 25-16 overall and 5-7 in Big 12 play.

    April 20, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma

    Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.

    April 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing

    Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
    He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.

    April 18, 2014

  • Huggins signs junior college guard

    Coach Bob Huggins completed his 2014-15 West Virginia University recruiting class on Wednesday and deemed it a success after receiving a signed letter of intent from junior college guard Tarik Phillip.
    Phillip joins Jevon Carter of Maywood, Ill., and Daxter Miles of Baltimore’s Dunbar High and out of Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts in the 2014-15 recruiting class.

    April 17, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Comparing pay of coaches and professors

    Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
    • A beautiful lady came up to my table last Sunday at brunch in the Village of Heritage Point’s main dining room with a message.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos